Two kinds of shows, to be exact: the kind that’s a straight-forward, crowd-pleasing hit right out of the gate, and the more complicated one that needs time to find an audience.
In a way, B2B marketing is like that second kind of show.
For one thing, it takes time to find the right audience. Business to consumer marketing is just that: a campaign launched by a business, aimed at many, many customers.
But with B2B marketing, marketers have a longer chain of command to deal with. The content you create needs to reach the people who can authorize purchases. To make things trickier, nearly two-thirds of B2B marketers say that engaging key decision makers is their biggest challenge.
And B2B content tends to be lengthy and detailed. That’s because its audience is looking for expertise and education. Think of it like a TV show with a complex plot vs. one that tells a self-contained story each week.
Despite these challenges, it’s important to use content marketing to reach a B2B audience. If you’re not using it, trust that your competitors are.
Creating marketing content isn’t about telling the world why they should choose your product or service. Customers – whether we’re talking about a consumer or a business – don’t make purchasing decisions the way they used to. Brand recognition doesn’t drive buyers the way it once did. Your potential customers want to know they’ve made an informed decision by the time they decide to spend money on you.
Instead of “Buy us!” your content needs to say more. It needs to tell your prospects that you understand their problems, present solutions and explain why your business is the best choice to provide that solution.
Let’s look at some other steps for creating a B2B content marketing strategy, with some thoughts on how it’s different from a B2C strategy.
1. Have A Plan
Start by brainstorming your objectives, whether you want to generate leads for your sales team, build a community around your product/service or become a thought leader in your industry. Then focus on who your target audience is, and which type of content with work for them. You should be clear in your content on who your products/services are NOT for. It shows that you care about your audience and will be upfront if your company isn’t a good fit for a client.
2. Give Buyers Something To Chew On
Be prepared for a longer sales process in B2B marketing. If the buyer decides to go with your company, it could be the start of a lengthy relationship.
At the same time, you should be aware that B2B customers spend a lot more time doing research into your company. Many of them say they’re close to 60 percent of the way through the sales process before they’ve engaged a sales rep.
That gives you the opportunity to provide them with material to do their research. Among the things you can share are:
- Blog posts – Don’t just think of your blog as a way to say “Here’s what’s happening with our business.” Your blog can share the type of content that turns visitors into leads, by discussing solutions for their problems.
- White papers – A detailed, authoritative piece of content on a specific problem and how to solve it.
- E-books – Like a whitepaper, but typically more colorful, with graphics and charts, and still aimed at solving your prospects’ problems.
- Case studies – If you want to explain why your company is good at what it does, use a case study: a real life example of how you solved a problem that the people who’ve found your business are having.
3. Work With Sales
B2B customers are engaging with sales reps later in the process, but your strategy should still be one that has your sales and marketing teams working together. The content you create can help bring in high-quality leads to your sales team, and their data can help you refine your marketing.
If you’re a B2B firm and need help launching your content marketing strategy, let IQnection help. B2B content marketing takes time and resilience, but it can yield success.